William

I want to be friends with him again, but his name is too common, so I have had a hard time finding him. Given up, really. He’s still a story though. Just bits and bobs.

I met him when he was studying abroad at Berkeley. I don’t remember his home university but he was a student in the geography department. I don’t remember how we met either, but I do remember these little things:

1. I asked him once what his middle name was, and it was something very unusual that I never learned how to spell. Like “Sendragon.” I asked whether he had been teased about it in school and he said “yes, frequently.” “But you still told people your real middle name when they asked? That’s sweet.” I think he was annoyed with me when he responded, “it isn’t sweet, it’s honest.”

2. On his wall in his dorm room, he had a picture of himself dressed up as a ballerina. For a play. Probably because he went to an all boys school like Eton or Harrow.

3. I once played a prank on him. I called him and had a British robot leave a message saying something very ridiculous like “Oh William, sweet William, how I love you. I can’t wait to see you later. Kisses, darling. Mmmm.” I didn’t test it beforehand and the “Mmmm” was a jarring and scary EM-EM-EM-EM, rather than a soft moan. I don’t think he suspected me, but he did tell me he was getting strange calls, “probably from sorority girls.”

4. His parents came all the way from England to take him to dinner on his 21st birthday. When I saw him afterwards, he had a golden signet ring with his family crest on his pinkie finger. I didn’t make the mistake, that time, of saying it was sweet. He wore it, always.

5. He was kind and intelligent, ever a joy to talk to. But when I used words like “sweet” or “cute” to describe him he’d get upset with me and pout. “Those are words you use to describe a puppy or someone’s 5-year-old brother, you know…”

Well, if you know William S. Harvey, let him know he has an old friend who still thinks fondly of him.

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